Citrulline is a common ingredient used in supplements which has been claimed to promote:
- Blood Flow
- Muscle Pumps
These are some big claims, and a lot of our readers are wondering how well it actually works.
In this report, we tell you everything you need to know about this amino acid and answer the following questions:
- What is Citrulline?
- What do the studies say about it?
- How much is an effective dose?
- Are there potential side effects?
- Our final verdict
Here’s what you need to know:
About Citrulline Malate:
The main advantage of Citrulline is how easily your body can absorb it – and how that affects you. Once in your system, Citrulline is converted in your kidneys into L-Arginine. High L-Arginine levels promote nitric oxide in your body – this is a vasodilator, and gives you killer muscle pumps.
It’s an amino acid that is usually extracted from fruits like Watermelon. It is not an essential amino acid – but it is used commonly in supplements – mainly pre workouts, and sometimes male performance products.
The advantage of more nitric oxide is that it helps to dilate your blood vessels and increase overall circulation. This ideal when it comes to promoting muscle pumps. With improved circulation and more blood being able to rush to your muscles, you can enjoy a more intense pump, and overall better workout experience.
These benefits also extend to the bedroom, hence the use in male performance products. Citrulline has been noted in some studies to help with erection quality due to its ability to promote blood flow.
So why not directly supplement L-Arginine?
Although the science is there to show that L-Arginine promotes Nitric Oxide levels – it’s the last thing you want to supplement for blood flow.
This amino acid has been seen to have poor levels of absorbption when supplemented orally. It wouldn’t have a great impact on your blood flow. Not only that, the nutrient has also been reported to cause diarrhea when supplemented at too higher dosage.
Citrulline is a safer bet for both for effectiveness and overall safety when looking for intense muscle pumps.
The Science Behind It:
There have been numerous studies that have shown the benefits of Citrulline.
The main results have shown this nutrient to help:
- Fight Fatigue and Boost Training Volume
- Muscle Soreness
- Boost Nitric Oxide (Muscle Pumps)
- Raise Growth Hormone
- Lowers and Regulates Blood Pressure
1. Citrulline to Fight Fatigue, Relieve Muscle Soreness and Improve Endurance
A clinical study involving 41 males aged 18 – 44 were split into 2 groups; Group A supplemented 8g of Citrulline, whereas Group B supplemented a placebo of 10g of sugar.
The two groups were taked with weight lifting – performing as many reps as possible of a certain exercise for numerous sets. The men ranged from average to experienced physiques in terms of exercise.
Two things were noticed from the results; Group A had improved endurance, they could not only perform more reps and more sets than Group B, they also has notably reduced muscle soreness after the workout by up to 40%. They were stronger and could recover faster.
Citrulline gave Group A a clear advantage.
Reference: Pérez-Guisado J, Jakeman PM., Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness., J Strength Cond Res. 2010 May;24(5):1215-22. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181cb28e0.
2. Boosts Nitric Oxide Levels (Muscle Pumps) & Growth Hormone
One of the main reasons you’ll want to supplement Citrulline are the great benefits it has on nitric oxide levels – it helps to increase overall blood flow to maximize muscle pumps.
In a study that followed 17 subjects over 24 hours, partipants supplemented 6000mg of Citrulline before exercising. The results after the workout showed that nitrate levels had dramatically increased – which intensifies muscle pumps. Not only that, growth hormone in partipants increased by an average of 66.8%.
This is a huge difference.
Reference: Sureda A, Córdova A, Ferrer MD, Pérez G, Tur JA, Pons A., L-citrulline-malate influence over branched chain amino acid utilization during exercise., Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010 Sep;110(2):341-51. doi: 10.1007/s00421-010-1509-4. Epub 2010 May 25.
3. Lowers and Regulates Blood Pressure
An added bonus of Citrulline is how it helps to improve overall blood pressure levels.
Due to Citrulline’s ability to promote arginine levels, it helps to support overall blood pressure.
In one study, 30 heart failure patients with a preserved ejection fraction aged 45 and up, were given 3000mg of Citrulline a day. The results showed that the supplemental Citrulline was able to support cardiac function and reduce overall blood pressure. Which helped to promote overall cardiac health.
Reference: Orozco-Gutiérrez JJ, Castillo-Martínez L, Orea-Tejeda A, Vázquez-Díaz O, Valdespino-Trejo A, Narváez-David R, Keirns-Davis C, Carrasco-Ortiz O, Navarro-Navarro A, Sánchez-Santillán R., Effect of L-arginine or L-citrulline oral supplementation on blood pressure and right ventricular function in heart failure patients with preserved ejection fraction., Cardiol J. 2010;17(6):612-8.
Warning about Dosages:
There’s no question that Citrulline has some great benefits – but you need to make sure you’re getting enough.
For the best results for an effective workout, you need between 6000 – 8000mg of this amino acid. There are a lot of supplements out there that make the mistake of under dosing it. Always check the label before you commit to making any decisions.
If what you’re taking falls below the 6000mg line, chances are you’re not going to get the full benefit of this amino acid.
As you can see, there’s a lot out there that confirms Citrulline as one of the better nutrients you can find in a pre workout.
When it comes to this amino acid, the main benefit has got to be it’s ability to successfully promote nitric oxide levels in the body. This is key to dilating blood vessels, which helps push more blood to the muscles during training which results in much larger muscle pumps.
Other benefits include this nutrient’s ability to help improve endurance levels. Studies have shown individuals that supplement 6000mg or more of Citrulline before exercise have been seen to perform better, and take longer to reach overall exhaustion and fatigue. These studies also showed that muscle soreness after the workout was reduced by up to 40% in some individuals.
It can also help with muscle growth as well. Post workout, Citrulline has been seen to help spike growth hormone levels by up to 66.8% while also helping to reduce and regulate blood pressure.
In closing, it’s one of the best pre workout nutrients you can get in a supplement – and as long as it’s dosed effectively (6000mg or more) – you’ll definitely notice the benefits.